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Toshiba Moving to 3D Memory with New Factory

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 13 comments

Toshiba plans to take NAND to a new level...vertical!

The completion of a new factory in western Japan will undoubtedly kick-start Toshiba's plans to mass produce a new generation of memory chips sometime in 2011. This will be the fifth factory in its overall manufacturing kingdom residing in Yokkaichi, and will initially produce conventional NAND flash chips. However Toshiba said that it will take the factory into new territory by developing new types of 3D memory.

Don't left the label fool you: 3D memory doesn't mean "holographic" or something that requires special glasses (a recent trend that has now even entered into Playboy territory). Rather, the company plans to build vertically as well as horizontally. The new 3D approach is an answer to fears that packing components together horizontally will eventually reach a limit. Electrical interference also becomes a factor, growing worse as technology advances and nanometers grow smaller.

But 3D manufacturing won't come for a while. During a Tokyo news conference, Toshiba president and CEO Norio Sasaki said that the company won't start construction of the facility until July--first phase production of its 20nm NAND memory won't begin until Spring 2011. The first production line capable of producing 3D chips will launch sometime after that, however Sasaki wasn't more specific.

Both SanDisk and Toshiba have been working together on 3D memory chips since 2008 with the anticipation that the new factory would be capable of bringing the technology to fruition. The factory is also part of Toshiba's push to achieve an 8-percent annual growth in its semiconductor business over the next three years.

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  • 8 Hide
    Anonymous , May 11, 2010 11:56 PM
    Don't left the label fool you..

    lol spelling error.
  • 4 Hide
    rocky1234 , May 12, 2010 12:46 AM
    you may be "right" :) 
  • 3 Hide
    mianmian , May 12, 2010 12:59 AM
    Good. One does not need glasses to utilize this 3-D technology.
  • 6 Hide
    Soul_keeper , May 12, 2010 1:02 AM
    That playboy link should get an article of it's own :) 
  • 8 Hide
    thejerk , May 12, 2010 1:07 AM
    Nanometers don't get smaller. Fab processes do, however.
  • 4 Hide
    sandypants , May 12, 2010 1:25 AM
    Wouldn't building them in 3D cause heat issues, or are they expecting the 20nm fab to be that cool...
  • 4 Hide
    cheepstuff , May 12, 2010 1:54 AM
    20nm... we are getting close to the size limit on transistors. hopefully stacking works as well as the engineers claim it will...
  • 0 Hide
    elel , May 12, 2010 2:22 AM
    I seem to remember reading something about stuff like this talked about in a book published in '03 or so. Not a new idea.
  • 1 Hide
    Gin Fushicho , May 12, 2010 2:43 AM
    Hopefully stacking doesn't make it even hotter.
  • 0 Hide
    eyemaster , May 12, 2010 1:50 PM
    mianmianGood. One does not need glasses to utilize this 3-D technology.

    You might need glasses to see any details in the chip, really really good magnifying glasses...
  • -1 Hide
    gm0n3y , May 12, 2010 4:32 PM
    If they were only expanding horizontally before and are now expanding vertically, wouldn't this be a shift from 1D to 2D? I assume this just means that the chips will be getting taller (i.e. sticking out farther from the board). 3D would be in the shape of a cube.
  • 1 Hide
    gm0n3y , May 12, 2010 5:50 PM
    Zingamcube is exactly what they mean

    Ok, that is odd. I'll be interested to see how they can get around the obvious heat dissipation issue.
  • 1 Hide
    gm0n3y , May 12, 2010 5:53 PM
    Zingamcube is exactly what they mean

    Also:

    "the company plans to build vertically as well as horizontally" doesn't really convey the cube-iness of it.

    And "nanometers grow smaller" should probably be "nanometers grow fewer" (though it sounds odd even if it is more correct).